Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Gathering of Waters
I grew up in the Jim Crow South. While Petersburg, Virginia was light-years away from Money, Mississippi, there were also lynchings in Virginia. Black Mothers of sons in Petersburg (and my mother had four sons) had reason to fear for their sons. Petersburg was an Army town as well as a college town with an HBCU which my four brothers attended. There was enough progressive activity in Petersburg that we might have been allowed some uppityness. Still there were lynchings.
I was old enough to remember Emmett Till. News about injustice in the black community traveled slowly. Jet Magazine was hand-delivered by the same young carriers who brought the black newspapers like the Journal & Guide. The news was months-old by the time we saw the horrific photos of Emmett Tills battered corpse.
I have followed Bernice McFadden's work for years, and her blogs for many months. When I read her early blurbs about this book, which would involve Emmett Till, I feared it would dredge up the old sadness and rage. But it didn't.
This is a magical book which weaves a tale told by the town of Money, Mississippi through generations starting in 1900. McFadden's prose is always so stunningly smooth, and packed with a powerful punch. The story reminds me of 2 Peter 3:8 "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day." And that God will make it right "by and by." God and the river.
I give it five stars.